Financial close drives next phase at Lincoln Gap Wind Farm

9 December

Nexif Energy announced Financial Close and Notice to Proceed with expansion of Lincoln Gap Wind Farm in South Australia

This next phase of the wind farm, located just outside of Port Augusta in South Australia, will add 86 MW of generating capacity to the 126MW already in an advanced stage of construction at the same location.

When complete, the Lincoln Gap Wind Energy Generation & Storage Project will comprise 59, Senvion turbines (3.6MW each), totaling 212 MW, and a 10MWhr battery storage system from Fluence. The combined project will have a total generating capacity of more than 212 MW, producing enough energy to power 155,000 households in South Australia. It is also expected to offset approximately 680,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Nexif Founder and Co-Chief Executive Matthew Bartley says the company is looking positively at a potential further expansion at Lincoln Gap, and a possible hybrid energy hub there.

“This is a continuation of our investment in South Australia where we are incredibly excited to be investing, and to be at the forefront with the first un-subsidised battery storage project for the state,’’ Mr. Bartley said.

“There remains potential to further expand Lincoln Gap and we are now working on feasibility studies to determine how large that could be as well as trying to bring technologies together to add solar to the wind energy and battery storage at Lincoln Gap to create a genuine hybrid energy hub.”

To finance construction of stage 2, Nexif Energy has secured additional debt finance for the project totaling A$160M from existing lender Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and new lender Westbourne Capital. This has secured employment for over 110 workers for an additional eighteen months in South Australia.

Fellow Founder and Co-CEO Mr. Surender Singh acknowledged the ongoing support of CEFC and welcomed new lender Westbourne Capital to the project.

“Through this pathbreaking integration of renewable wind power generation with battery storage system, Nexif Energy and its financiers have a committed investment of over A$480 million, making it amongst the largest investors in South Australia.” Mr. Singh said.  

“We take this opportunity to thank our debt financing partners CEFC and Westbourne for confidence in Nexif Energy. We also look forward to working closely with construction partners Senvion and Fluence for on time completion of this important project,” Singh said.

“Since backing Nexif Energy in 2015, we have continued to expand Denham’s international power investment footprint to create a significant growth platform in Australia and Southeast Asia with low-cost power projects already underway in Australia, Vietnam, and Thailand” said Denham Capital Managing Director Saurabh Anand. “Denham views the region as offering significant growth opportunities and look forward to more successes with Nexif in the near future”

Construction of Stage 2 of the project will now commence with Notice to Proceed issued to Senvion.

Background

The Lincoln Gap Wind Farm is a 222MW initiative comprising 212MW of wind turbines and 10MW of battery storage capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 155,000 households in South Australia. Involving the construction and operation of up to 59 Senvion 3.6M140 wind turbines and an Advancion battery storage system supplied by Fluence, the project will feed into the national electricity grid via the Electranet transmission network.

Key facts on the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm Project:

- A 10MW battery storage facility at the wind farm allows the project to more reliably integrate renewable energy into the National Electricity Market, with the large-scale battery delivering fast response storage capacity.

- The windfarm is being built on farmland on a raised plateau next to the Eyre Highway. It is expected to be operational from mid next year.

- The construction workforce ranges from 110 – 140 people, with more than half of this workforce sourced from the local region.

- Underwriting a significant proportion of the project production are two long-term Large-Scale Generation Certificate (LGC) agreements signed with ERM Power (ASX-EPW) in April 2017 and an innovative long-term offtake agreement with Snowy Hydro.

- In addition to the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm, Nexif Energy is developing a 90MW wind farm in the Waterloo Ranges, approximately 15km west of Glen Innes in the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales.

More information about the Lincoln Gap wind farm is available from: http://lincolngapwindfarm.com.au/

Source: Nexif Energy

 

CHRISTMAS BREAK

Please note this will be our last edition of Project Updates for 2018. We will be back with our first edition for 2019 on 14 January.

 

CEFC and Westbourne Capital finance expansion of Port Augusta renewables project

10 December

The CEFC and specialist infrastructure debt investment manager Westbourne Capital have committed $160 million in finance to construct Stage II of Nexif Energy’s Lincoln Gap Wind Farm in South Australia. The additional CEFC commitment, of $50 million, takes its overall senior debt commitment in the project to $200 million, representing its largest investment in a single wind farm development to date.

When complete, the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm near Port Augusta will have a total generating capacity of more than 212 MW, producing enough energy to power 155,000 homes. It will offset some 680,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

CEFC Wind sector lead Andrew Gardner said: “This debt finance package sees Westbourne Capital participating as a mezzanine debt lender alongside our senior debt commitment.

“The ability to fold mezzanine debt into finance for new build wind farms in this manner creates new investment opportunities for non-bank lenders to further support the growth of the renewable energy sector.”

Westbourne Capital Managing Director David Ridley said: “We are very pleased to have worked with the CEFC and Nexif Energy to finance the construction of Stage II. Lincoln Gap Wind Farm represents our firm’s second debt investment in the Australian renewables space and demonstrates the growing interest from institutional investors seeking to access well structured transactions in the sector”.

The Lincoln Gap Wind Farm has secured long-term commitments for purchase of Large-Scale Generation Certificates by ERM Power and two long-term energy offtake agreements with Snowy Hydro. The project is Australia’s first greenfield wind development to feature an unsubsidised large-scale grid-connected battery, with developer Nexif Energy to use the Fluence industrial-grade Advancion energy storage platform at the development.

Nexif’s Executive Vice President, Development, Enamul Latifi acknowledged the support of the CEFC and Westbourne Capital in financing the Stage II expansion.

“This is a continuation of our investment in South Australia, where we are incredibly excited to be at the forefront of clean energy solutions for the state,’’ Mr Latifi said.

“There remains potential to further expand Lincoln Gap and we are now working on feasibility studies to determine how large that could be, as well as trying to bring technologies together to add solar to the wind energy and battery storage at Lincoln Gap to create a genuine hybrid energy hub.”

Construction of Lincoln Gap Stage II is expected to begin early in 2019, providing local employment opportunities.

Source: CEFC

 

Investors call for Australia to close coal power by 2030

10 December

Commenting on the announcement today by 415 global investors representing over USD $32 trillion in assets which calls for coal phase out by 2030, Daniel Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“Today’s announcement by 415 global investors which has called for the Australian government to facilitate a phase out of coal-fired power by 2030 is welcome and urgent, given the IPCC’s recent warning that urgent and drastic action must be taken to reduce emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“Today’s announcement is both a commitment by investors USD $32 trillion in assets as well as a signal to ASX companies, Australian politicians and the coal lobby about how capital will be allocated; that is, away from coal.

“ACCR will be holding the 23 Australian investors to account for the commitment they have made today and working with coal affected communities to fight for a just transition away from coal, ensuring that their livelihoods are considered.

“While the call from the investors for governments to meet their Paris Agreement commitments is a step in the right direction, this is not enough if we are going to avoid the impacts of catastrophic climate change. Investors must ensure that ASX listed companies take urgent, necessary action to reduce emissions, and stop lobbying against effective climate policies.

“According to the IPCC, globally we must reduce emissions by 45% (on 2010 levels) by 2030, which is distinctly more ambitious than Australia’s current and shameful national commitment of 26-28%.

“The IPCC report has showed us that we still have a chance to limit warming to 1.5°C and the urgent action governments, companies and investors must take to make this happen. Ignoring these warnings, inaction and peddling lies that climate change is not real will cost us this planet.

Source: ACCR

 

The City of Whyalla has revealed three big initiatives

10 December

Whyalla is embarking on the most significant and exciting transformation in the history of the city.

This was announced on Monday at Whyalla’s Big Reveal as Mayor Clare McLaughlin, in conjunction with some equally big news from GFG Alliance, revealed three ground-breaking initiatives as part of the Whyalla City Transformation Blueprint.

Working with key partners - GFG Alliance, Beijing Enterprises Clean Energy (BECE), Pelligra Constructions, Peats Soil & Garden Supplies, the State and Federal governments and the Whyalla community - Council is aiming to create a city to live and work in that will be worthy of the global market leader status Sanjeev Gupta will be creating with his transformation of the GFG Alliance steelworks and associated mines.

The exciting list of projects for Whyalla include a $145m renewable energy intensive horticultural development (BCEC), $45m foreshore hotel (Pelligra) and a $6m green organic recycling project (Peats).

“This is the most exciting and important time in Whyalla’s history and we are entering into an unprecedented era,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“Over the next decade, Whyalla will be transformed, fuelled by growth in all sectors and intensely watched by the world.

“But the opportunity created won’t come just from the timely investment in our Steelworks and mines or, for that matter, any other single investment from external sources, it will need all of us in Whyalla to step up and fire up the spirit of our community.

“This is just the start on the City Transformation Blueprint journey … we will have more exciting news in the near future.”

GFG Alliance Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta welcomed the Council news saying both sets of announcements complemented each other with his company a very real partner with the City of Whyalla.

“With our announcements and the Council’s exciting projects, Whyalla really does have an exciting, sustainable future,” Mr Gupta said.

“Our plans align perfectly with those of Council and we will continue to work hand-in-hand to make Whyalla a place that everyone will want to come to both work and live in.

“We congratulate Council on its plans for the future with its City Transformation Blueprint that not only give us the confidence to move forward but also complements and supports what we plan to do for our operations and the city.”

Mayor McLaughlin said the projects would be funded in partnership with the relevant investors and stakeholders while Council would also be seeking support from the State and Federal governments and ensuring the whole of Whyalla will be brought along for the ride.

“We Are Whyalla is a catch cry that you’ll see more and more over the coming months as we engage every section of our community, as we communicate to every last member of our city our bold and world-reaching plans,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“With partners like GFG Alliance, BECE, Pelligra Constuctions, Peats, the governments of Australia and of South Australia, and so many more, we the community of Whyalla will build on these investments by investing in ourselves.

“It won’t happen overnight, but as sure as the next day will come, the amazing story of Whyalla will unfold.”

KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS

SOLAR HORTICULTURAL FACILITY: A new state-of-the-art $145m intensive horticulture facility powered by renewable energy solar power - BECE.

BECE is a 100% owned subsidiary of Beijing Enterprises Water Group, one of the major state-owned company in China.

BECE operates a broad range of renewable energy projects both in China and overseas, including solar farm, wind farm, battery storage, clean heating supply service, geothermal power, micro-grid network technologies and more.

BECE engages broadly into the entire industrial value chain, from investment, design, construction, operation to technical support and funds. The company has proposed to invest in a $145 million solar project combined with intensive horticulture operations in Whyalla.

This project is the first outcome from a recent Council delegation visit to China.

The facility will be built on a large parcel of land in the Whyalla Industrial Estate with Council pressing the need for as much local labour and materials to be used in its construction.

Source: Whyalla City Council

 

Clean energy project investment doubles in 2018 to top record $20 billion

11 December

Renewable energy and storage projects adding up to more than $20 billion of investment have now been committed across the country, according to new figures released by the Clean Energy Council today.

Currently 14.6 gigawatts of new renewable energy projects are under construction. Making conservative adjustments for average capacity factor of wind and solar production, this is equivalent to more than four times the energy output of the Liddell Power Station.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said 2018 was unquestionably a record year for the industry. More than 2 million homes now have solar panels, and over 80 wind and solar farms are now under constructed or about to start, he said.

“The total value of the projects underway is double where we were at the end of last year. Plus, the wind and solar projects completed in 2018 add up to $6b, taking the total of projects completed or underway this year to more than $26 billion,” Mr Thornton said.

“The skills and experience our industry has developed this decade allow new projects to be built more efficiently than ever before, helping to push down projects costs and power prices. Along with the incentives provided by the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and state policies, wind, solar and storage have created an extraordinary opportunity for thousands of people in regional parts of the country.

“More than 80 projects are being built which will deliver over $20b of investment and 13,000 direct jobs. It really is an amazing time for this industry,” he said.

The biggest winners from the $20 billion worth of new renewable energy projects are:

  • Queensland: $6.9b of investment, more than 4500 direct jobs and 5640 megawatts (MW) of new capacity
  • Victoria: $5.2b of investment, more than 3800 direct jobs and 3400 MW
  • New South Wales: $4.3b of investment, more than 2100 direct jobs and 3500 MW

Despite the record result, Mr Thornton said the billion-dollar economic boom from renewable energy in regional Australia could come to an end if the energy policy debate is left to languish unresolved.

“While new investment no longer requires subsidy, it does require long-term energy policy certainty. As the year closes, we are no closer to national, bipartisan energy and climate policy. If anything we are further away than when we started," he said.

“States and territories have stepped in to fill the void with their own initiatives to encourage jobs and investment in new clean energy. But there remains a clear vacuum of federal energy policy in Australia."

Source: Clean Energy Council

 

PROJECT NEWS

Flinders University Solar PV System

Flinders University in Adelaide has applied for a generation licence for its 1.745 MW rooftop and carpark solar photovoltaic systems consisting of 5,817 solar panels, 37 inverters, all balance of system components, railing and cabling materials. The licence is sought as soon as possible.

 

Farmer and resident needs front and centre of new solar energy guideline

11 December

Community consultation is front-and-centre of the new NSW Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline released today to inform and guide applicants and the community through the assessment process for state significant solar farm proposals.

Announcing the new Guideline, Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary, Policy and Strategy, Alison Frame, said renewable energy is driving billions of dollars of investment and supporting thousands of jobs for NSW.

“Solar energy technology is an evolving industry, with a high potential for significant technological advances in the future, but the rapid growth in the pipeline of renewable energy projects across NSW highlights the need for careful management of potential impacts on surrounding areas,” Ms Frame said.

“NSW has the best sun and space for solar energy, but we need to ensure the emerging larger solar farms don’t adversely affect communities and important agricultural land.

“The growth we’re seeing in the renewable energy industry will help us reach our net-zero emissions by 2050 target, but we need to make sure we strike a balance between the benefits of solar energy projects and the interests and needs of the community.”

Ms Frame said the Guideline reflects the Department’s strong commitment to the state’s booming solar energy.

“The Department welcomes new private sector investment in energy projects, including solar farms, to boost supply and competition and lower energy bills,” Ms Frame said.

“Over the past five years the share of solar and wind in the NSW electricity generation mix has tripled.

“To date, the NSW Government and independent regional planning panels have approved a total of 49 large scale solar energy projects across NSW, with a total capacity of more than 3300 MW – enough to power more than one million homes.”

In the past six months, the number of operating large-scale solar projects in NSW has more than doubled, going from three to eight projects, and there are another six solar farms under construction. A further 34 are under assessment, or in the planning pipeline.

The new Guideline provides clear and consistent guidance to the community, applicants, industry and regulators on the environmental and social impacts of state significant solar energy projects and encourages early consultation, continual consultation and suitable site selection.

The NSW Large Scale Solar Guideline forms part of a suite of tools being created to help all stakeholders navigate the state’s development pipeline with consideration to economic, social and environmental concerns.

The award-winning Wind Energy Guideline was finalised in December 2016. The Department is also working on a guideline for recycling facilities, including energy-from-waste projects.

For more information, visit the Large scale Solar Energy Guideline page.

Source: NSW Government

 

Work stops at the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm

11 December

Construction at the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm near Mudgee stopped on Friday after the NSW Department of Planning and Environment threatened to take legal action.

The Department found that CWP Renewables had breached its conditions of consent by commencing construction of the wind farm without first upgrading the nearby Aarons Pass Road.

The Department also imposed a $15,000 penalty notice on CWP Renewables for breaching its conditions of consent.

Executive Director, Resource Assessments and Compliance, Mike Young, said the Department takes its compliance role seriously.

“This was a clear breach of the conditions,” he said.

“While the company has agreed to stop construction of the project until it upgrades Aarons Pass Road, we also considered it was appropriate to issue a fine for the works already undertaken on the site,” Mr Young said.

This latest compliance action comes after CWP Renewables ceased work on Aarons Pass Road earlier this year following concerns raised by locals about the extent of tree clearing along the road.
CWP Renewables has now lodged a modification application with the Department seeking approval for a revised design for the Aarons Pass Road upgrade, including an increase in the limit for tree clearing along the road.

The application is on public exhibition until 19 December 2018, and the Department encourages anyone who wishes to have a say to make a formal submission through the Major Projects website.

The Department will also be holding a community forum on Wednesday 12 December 2018 at the Pyramul Hall in Pyramul from 4pm to 6pm.

“We are holding a community forum to listen to the concerns of the community and to answer any questions about the assessment of the proposed modification. We encourage anyone with an interest in the project to attend,” Mr Young said.

Source: NSW Government

 

Snowy 2.0 approved by the Board

12 December

Today, the independent Board of Snowy Hydro Limited approved a final investment decision to proceed with Snowy 2.0, subject to Shareholder approval.

Snowy 2.0 is a pumped-hydro expansion of the existing Snowy Scheme, providing 2000 megawatts (MW) of on-demand generation and 350,000MW hours of large-scale energy storage.

After almost two years of rigorous due diligence on every aspect of the Project, including detailed financial analysis and ongoing geotechnical drilling, the Board is confident Snowy 2.0 is a strong investment for the Company.

The Board has informed the Shareholder of its decision to proceed with Snowy 2.0 subject to Shareholder approval. Further Project information will be released following Shareholder approval.

Find out more about Snowy 2.0 here.

Source: Snowy Hydro

 

Northam partial sale update

12 December

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited (ASX: CCE) wishes to advise that it has completed the partial sale of its 50% interest in the Northam Solar Farm to Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) for $2,508,975, with funds being applied towards Carnegie’s remaining equity contribution to the Project Partnership.

Carnegie retains an 11.33% interest in the Northam Solar Farm, calculated based on a 10% discount to the Fair Market Value at August 2018 as determined by an independent valuation undertaken by Price Waterhouse Coopers. A final minor equity adjustment will shortly be made on the same basis once associated transaction costs are finalised.

As part of the transaction Carnegie has also agreed not to dispose of its remaining Partnership interest without IBA’s consent.

Source: Carnegie Clean Energy

 

China’s Seraphim to supply modules to Australia’s largest smart solar farm

12 December

Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co. Ltd. (“Seraphim”), a world-class solar product manufacturer in China, recently announced that it will supply state-of-the-art smart modules to a 9MW PV plant project in Australia.

Located 95 km west of Moree, New South Wales, the plant developed by the Kanowna Solar PL [Bullarah Solar Farm] is expected to utilize 27,500 units of 325W Seraphim MX Modules with integrated cell string-level Maxim optimizers.

Construction will start on the plant in early 2019.

It is reported that the smart module produced by Seraphim can enable up to 1.5x more modules per string, thanks to its voltage-limiting feature, which will significantly reduce costs and make it more suitable for large power plants and commercial projects.

Meanwhile, compared with the traditional module, the smart module can minimize DC system mismatch losses and long-term degradation rates to enhance production output by up to 5 percent.

“We are delighted to cooperate with Kanowna on this unprecedented smart solar project. It’s a milestone of huge importance to both companies, and also for the entire Australian solar market,” commented Polaris Li, President of Seraphim.

“We are very pleased to be working with Seraphim on this ground-breaking project. Our engineering team spent several months carefully studying the benefits of these optimizers. The Maxim optimizer used by Seraphim is ideal for utility-scale solar due to its extremely cost-effective design coupled with intra-module sub-string level optimization,” said Dr. Emma Mailler, General Manager of Kanowna Solar.

Source: Seraphim Solar

 

PROJECT NEWS

Western Downs Green Power Hub

Federal Department of the Environment declared Neoen’s proposed Western Downs Green Power Hub in Hopeland, Queensland not a controlled action and so the project will not need to be assessed under the EPBC Act. Neoen is proposing a 500 MW solar farm with battery storage.

 

$407 million solar farm approved for Darlington Point

12 December

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has approved a new $407 million solar farm at Darlington Point near Griffith.

Resource Assessments Director, Clay Preshaw, said the Department had approved the 275-megawatt (MW) solar project 10km south of Darlington Point, adding to the growing hub of solar energy projects established in the area.

“This is a multi-million project that will power over 130,000 homes each year, boost the local economy, provide up to 300 jobs during and after construction, as well as increasing electricity capacity and helping to cut greenhouse emissions.

“The project has been assessed on its merits, under planning legislation and clear official policies to consider any potential benefits or impacts to the environment, the economy and the community,” Mr Preshaw said.

There were no submissions opposing the Darlington Point project.

Mr Preshaw said the project approval followed the release of a new Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline developed by the Department and designed to lead applicants and the community through the assessment process for state significant solar farm proposals.

“The NSW Large Scale Solar Guideline aims to provide clear and consistent guidance to the community, applicants, industry and regulators on the environmental and social impacts of state significant solar energy projects, encouraging early and continued consultation, and suitable site selection

“The new guideline reflects the NSW Government’s strong commitment to NSW’S booming solar energy market.

“To date, the NSW Government and independent regional planning panels have approved a total of 49 large scale solar projects across the state,” Mr Preshaw said.

Source: NSW Government

 

$262 million Suntop Solar Farm approved

12 December

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has approved the $262 million Suntop Solar Farm project in the state’s Central West.

Resource Assessments Director, Clay Preshaw, said the Department had approved the 170-megawatt (MW) solar project 10km west of Wellington, which will power up to 70,000 homes and add to the hub of renewable energy projects established in the area.

“This is a multi-million-dollar project that will over the longer-term increase electricity capacity, help to cut greenhouse emissions and create jobs for the local community, including up to 250 jobs during construction.

“The project has been assessed on its merits, under planning legislation and clear official policies to consider any potential benefits or impacts to the environment, the economy and the community,” Mr Preshaw said.

Mr Preshaw said the project approval followed the release of a new Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline developed by the Department and designed to lead applicants and the community through the assessment process for state significant solar farm proposals.

“The NSW Large Scale Solar Guideline aims to provide clear and consistent guidance to the community, applicants, industry and regulators on the environmental and social impacts of state significant solar energy projects, encouraging early and continued consultation, and suitable site selection

“The new guideline reflects the NSW Government’s strong commitment to NSW’S booming solar energy market.

“To date, the NSW Government and independent regional planning panels have approved a total of 49 large scale solar projects across the state,” Mr Preshaw said.

The Department will continue to work closely with the local Wellington community as future solar farms are assessed.

Source: NSW Government

 

Unlocking Tasmania's energy capacity through interconnection

12 December

Analysis released today by Hydro Tasmania demonstrates that additional Bass Strait interconnection would immediately unlock many hundreds of megawatts of latent dispatchable capacity in the Tasmanian hydropower system, and make it available to a transforming National Electricity Market (NEM).

This immediate boost to the NEM would be the first of many benefits of more interconnection. Looking further ahead Tasmania’s ambitious plan to become the renewable Battery of the Nation is also dependent on increasing our interconnection. ARENA has supported the Battery of the Nation initiative with up to $5.0 million funding for project studies, being matched by Hydro Tasmania.

As the NEM transitions away from baseload fossil fuel generation and the penetration of wind and solar increases, new energy storage options are needed to ‘firm’ variable generation sources. But there are limited cost-effective options available in the NEM for long-duration storage.

“It’s well understood that additional interconnection would stimulate investment in new renewable energy development in Tasmania, including cost-effective pumped hydro energy storage and high-quality and diverse wind generation,” said Steve Davy, Hydro Tasmania CEO.

“While those projects require feasibility assessments and construction lead time, additional interconnection would realise benefits almost immediately through accessing Tasmania’s latent dispatchable capacity, made available by relatively minor changes to the way we operate existing hydropower assets. And this could happen without the need for new generation investment.

“Our analysis shows that 400 MW of reliable capacity can be unlocked with no new investment. It would be available over the summer months, when demand is at its peak in Victoria and the system under greatest pressure. This coincides with the period of lower demand in Tasmania, which means supporting the NEM can coexist with meeting domestic energy needs.”

The capacity of existing interconnection constrains how much support the Tasmanian system can currently offer to the NEM.

“Until there’s additional interconnection, the latent capacity that exists in our hydropower system is being under-utilised. It’s not needed in Tasmania, and while it would provide value in Victoria, there’s not sufficient interconnection capacity to deliver it to that market.”

Mr Davy said with the right market signals, there could be even more dispatchable capacity unlocked with limited investment through asset upgrades, altered operations and demand-side opportunities.

The White Paper The potential of Tasmania’s renewable generation assets with more interconnection is available on Hydro Tasmania’s website. The report has been developed as part of Hydro Tasmania’s work to support Tasmania’s ambition to become the renewable energy Battery of the Nation.

We also welcome today’s announcement by Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor that the Federal Government has opened the Underwriting New Generation Investments program.

“The future market remains uncertain, and the industry requires a safeguard regulatory mechanism to unlock the dispatchable flexible capacity that Australia badly needs,” Mr Davy said.

“The Underwriting New Generation Investment program could reduce that uncertainty and make dispatchable capacity projects like pumped hydro a far more secure investment.

“A strong framework will support an orderly transition for the market which is in the best interests of consumers.”

Source Hydro Tasmania

 

Grid Scale Storage Fund

Top of Form

About the Fund

The $50 million Grid Scale Storage Fund is one of the key components of the South Australian Government’s energy policy.

It aims to accelerate the roll-out of grid-scale energy storage infrastructure and address the intermittency of South Australia’s electricity supplies.

The Fund will target projects that help address some of the key challenges that are having cost impacts on South Australia’s power system, now and into the future.

The Fund is technology neutral. Some examples of eligible technologies include pumped hydro energy storage, hydrogen and natural gas storage, solar thermal and battery storage.

As well as improving energy affordability, reliability and security, successful projects will create jobs and boost local industry development.

There will be one round of applications, with a closing date of Thursday, 7 February 2019. Successful applications are expected to be announced by mid-2019.

New applicants will not be accepted after the closing date.

What kinds of projects are eligible?

There are two categories of projects eligible for Grid Scale Storage Fund grants.

- Distributed storage (Stream 1) - targeting behind-the-meter projects in commercial and industrial facilities (including mining operations) or in the distribution network, which will commence full commercial operations within two years of receiving support from the Fund.

- Centralised (bulk) storage (Stream 2) - targeting projects located upstream in the electricity network that will commence full commercial operations within four years of receiving support from the Fund.

Co-funding

Applications shortlisted for the Grid Scale Storage Fund may be eligible for co-funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) under its ARENA Advancing Renewables Program (ARP).

Applicants seeking co-funding from the Fund and the ARP must submit separate applications to the Fund and the ARP.

How do I apply?

Download the Investment Guidelines PDF for more information about the Fund, eligibility criteria and potential for co-funding by ARENA.

Proposals must be submitted using the Grid Scale Storage Fund Proposal Template (DOCX) and Grid Scale Storage Fund Data Book (XLSX)

Submit your application, using the Proposal Template and associated Data Book, no later than 5.00 pm on Thursday,  7 February 2019.

Successful applicants are expected to be notified by mid-2019.

Contact

All proposals must be submitted to the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) via email at sastoragefund@sa.gov.au.

DEM staff are available to discuss funding applications at sastoragefund@sa.gov.au.

Source: SA Government

 

CEFC confirms largest equity backing for renewables in bid to spur interest from institutional investors

13 December

The CEFC has confirmed its largest equity investment in renewables, with a $100 million commitment designed to encourage institutional investors to further lift their exposure to renewables.

The CEFC investment in the Australian Renewables Income Fund (ARIF), managed by Australian asset manager Infrastructure Capital Group (ICG), represents an almost 40 per cent increase in the CEFC’s renewables equity portfolio, which now stands at $355 million.

ARIF will focus on proven large-scale wind and solar technologies, as well as emerging opportunities in energy-from-waste, large-scale battery storage and pumped hydro.

The CEFC has committed more than $2 billion in debt finance to accelerate the development of almost three gigawatts of renewable energy since it began investing in 2013.

To complement the maturing debt market for renewables, the CEFC is continuing its strategy of increasing the flow of equity finance into a diverse range of large-scale renewables opportunities, tapping into the substantial resources of institutional investors and superannuation funds.

“It’s been exciting to see Australia’s renewable energy sector achieve significant growth in recent years, delivering substantial new investment in regional Australia and producing lower cost and cleaner electricity,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.

“However, renewables still represent less than 20 per cent of total electricity generation, highlighting the very large investment opportunity in order to deliver a clean energy electricity grid. Our investment in the Australian Renewables Income Fund is about creating new opportunities for institutional investors to take a larger role in our clean energy transition.

“Through ARIF, investors will have exposure to a broad range of renewable energy technologies, providing attractive options to deepen their exposure to clean energy opportunities.”

ICG Managing Director Tom Laidlaw said the unlisted Australian Renewables Income Fund has received strong initial support from institutional investors to build on its portfolio of renewable energy assets in Australia.

ARIF will invest in operating assets as well as new developments, enhancing returns for investors.

“ICG has invested in renewable energy assets on behalf of investors since 2007, over which time institutional demand has grown significantly,” Mr Laidlaw said.

“ARIF offers investors access to a high-quality portfolio of operating renewable energy assets and a platform for future growth in the sector. It is a portfolio that has been built over an extended period and is designed to provide investors with a diversified exposure across the sector.”

According to the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), responsible investors accounted for 55.5 per cent of professionally managed assets in Australia in 2017, valued at $866 billion. The RIAA also reported that responsible investments outperformed other investments across large cap Australian and international share funds, as well as multi-sector growth funds.

CEFC Equity lead Rory Lonergan said: “Institutional investors are expressing an increasing appetite for environmentally responsible investment opportunities, alongside heightened scrutiny on the climate risk issues within their portfolios. We see an important opportunity here to expand the availability of tailored renewable energy investment options for investors, and to respond to the expectations of fund members.

“It’s also critical that we increase the amount of finance available for large-scale renewable energy projects, especially at the early stage of development. These projects require a strong capital base and a long-term commitment to investment returns, making them ideally suited to institutional investors.

“While there are currently limited fund style opportunities for institutional investors to get equity exposure to renewable energy assets, we expect this investment class to continue to grow in the future as renewables deliver a larger share of our energy generation.”

In addition to the ARIF investment, the CEFC has also made renewable energy related equity investments with Palisade Investment Partners, the Foresight Group and HRL Morrison & Co.

Source: CEFC

 

Green Light for SolarShare

13 December

The ACT Government has given the green light to community solar company, SolarShare, to build its flagship 1 MW solar farm in the Majura Valley.

The ACT Government’s approval of SolarShare’s application for a feed-in tariff means SolarShare can sell to a participant in the wholesale energy market and earn 19.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. This rate is guaranteed for 20 years, providing long-term stability for the flagship renewable energy project. Construction will begin in the third quarter of 2019.

“We’re excited to be part of Canberra’s renewable energy future, helping power the Bush Capital’s plan to run on 100 per cent clean energy by 2020” said SolarShare’s Principal Executive Officer, Lawrence Macintosh.

“I thank the 800+ individuals who have signed up to becoming investors in this project. The huge interest we’ve seen goes to show just how enthusiastic Canberrans are about investing in clean community-owned energy.”

SolarShare allows ACT residents to purchase shares in the solar farm and receive a safe return on their investment when energy is sold to Canberra’s power grid. Anyone who may have difficulty getting their own residential solar panels, including those renting, living in apartments, or with limited finances, can support and profit from solar panels through SolarShare.

Once complete, SolarShare’s flagship solar farm will generate enough clean energy to power 260 homes, preventing some 1,700 tonnes of CO₂ a year from polluting the atmosphere.

“This is just the start”, said Lawrence McIntosh. “After SolarShare’s flagship project in the Majura Valley, our vision is to have a string of solar projects, opening the investment pool to more people. We work with owners of large rooftops as well as land. SolarShare can offer to install solar panels for free and sell you cost effective clean energy.”

With the feed-in tariff approval, things are moving quickly on the flagship project and SolarShare will close registration for investors in the near future.

“We’re opening our investment round on Friday 14th December, welcoming ACT residents to become part owners of Australia’s largest community solar farm.” continued Lawrence Macintosh.

Source: SolarShare

 

Call for Registrations of Interest for the Underwriting New Generation Investments Program

13 December

The Australian Government has today opened the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, calling for Registrations of Interest (ROI) for projects.

The program has been developed to give the Government an ongoing mechanism to support targeted investment that will lower price and increase reliability in the system.

The program will be multi-phased and open over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23. Each phase of the program will be tailored to deliver a solution to an identified market failure, consistent with the overall objectives of the program. Phase one of the program will begin in Q1 2019.

The ROI process under phase one will be open from 13 December 2018 with responses due by 23 January 2019.

Detailed guidance on phase one of the program, including final assessment criteria, will be published prior to the commencement of a formal request for proposals in the first quarter of 2019.

Further information about the program, including dates for the commencement and closure of each phase will be published on www.energy.gov.au.

Source: Federal Government

 

APA terminates RCR Tomlinson contract

13 December

APA Group (ASX:APA), advises that effective today, it has terminated its contract with a subsidiary of RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX:RCR) for the turnkey construction of APA’s Darling Downs Solar Farm following appointment of voluntary administrators by RCR on 22 November 2018.

The Darling Downs Solar Farm is a 110MW site located near Dalby in south-western Queensland. The solar farm is currently undergoing commissioning and is generating electricity to ramp up set point limits under its commissioning plan, with electricity generated being despatched as pre-commissioning generation under the offtake agreement with Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG). APA has a long-term offtake agreement with Origin Energy until December 2030.

Commissioning and performance testing of the site is being managed by APA and the commencement of commercial operations is expected in Q1, 2019.

Source: APA Group

 

AER releases investigation report into South Australia's 2016 state-wide blackout

14 December

Following an extensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2016 state-wide blackout in South Australia, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is calling for greater communication, transparency and role clarity for the energy sector.

AER Chair Paula Conboy today released a report outlining the AER’s investigation findings and a number of recommendations to improve the regulatory framework.

“The 2016 blackout was a serious state-wide event, ultimately brought about by extreme weather, and in many cases unprecedented circumstances, impacting energy infrastructure in South Australia,” Ms Conboy said.

“The AER’s forensic investigation assessed the actions of all parties, before and after the state went black, across 50 Rules.

“Overall, the investigation found a high level of compliance by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and market participants with their obligations. In particular, we have found that AEMO has not breached any of its core obligations around operating the market or managing power system security.

“However there were instances in which AEMO did not comply with its obligations.”

The investigation found non-compliance by AEMO in relation to five clauses of the National Electricity Rules (NER). Specifically, AEMO did not meet all of the process requirements for reclassification and notifications to participants, which stemmed from deficiencies in their procedures and guidelines.

Where appropriate, the AER has raised areas for improvement with AEMO throughout the investigation, and participated in public consultation processes following the state-wide blackout.

“It’s important to note that, following our investigation, we consider these breaches did not contribute to the state going black and that all core obligations were met,” Ms Conboy said.

“Given the nature of the findings, the extreme circumstances under which the non-compliance occurred, and the actions that have been taken by AEMO and others since September 2016 to address some of the issues identified, we do not intend to take any further enforcement action in respect of these matters.”

Ms Conboy said that as a result of this investigation, improvements, potential changes to the NER and framework, and further compliance activities to promote better future management of similar events, have been recommended.

“We have identified areas where changes should be considered to improve the overall effectiveness of the regulatory framework, predominantly to provide greater clarity and transparency about roles and responsibilities,” she said.

“Communication and transparency are particularly critical given the introduction of new types of energy generation and increasing numbers of market participants.

“Consideration was given to actions that have already been taken by AEMO in developing the recommendations.”

Recommendations proposed by the AER include:

- Implementing more rigorous weather monitoring processes

- Standardising notifications for market participants during abnormal weather conditions

- Reviewing classification of weather events

-Improving AEMO operator training

- Clarifying roles and responsibilities of the market operator and network providers regarding system restoration

“We also found that AEMO and all South Australian market participants were committed to working together to restore power to customers and ensure the smooth operation of the market in the days after the event,” Ms Conboy said.

“The objectives of the National Electricity Law are to promote efficient investment in, and efficient operation and use of, energy services for the long term interests of consumers with respect to price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply of energy.

“By recommending improvements to the regulatory and market framework we are aiming to enable better accommodation for the rapid changes in technology and energy generation.”

The AER’s recommendations will be key inputs into the Australian Energy Market Commission’s upcoming review of the regulatory framework.

The AER will continue to work with the industry to ensure the lessons learned from this event are effectively implemented in South Australia and more broadly, and will report on the implementation of our recommendations later in 2019.

This report relates to the circumstances prior to the blackout, system restoration, and the market suspension period. The AER’s review of the events immediately preceding the state-wide blackout is ongoing.

Source: AER

 

New solar farm approval another big boost for Wagga Wagga

14 December

The NSW Government has approved the construction of a new solar farm in Wagga Wagga, providing a boost to local businesses.

The Department of Planning and Environment approved the 47megawatt (MW) solar farm in Gregadoo which will support more than 150 construction jobs over the coming year.

Director of Resource Assessments, Clay Preshaw, said the $61 million Gregadoo facility will be able to power more than 17,500 homes each year and provide a significant economic boost to Wagga Wagga’s local economy.

“This project will support over a hundred construction jobs that will be sourced locally over the construction period,” he said.

The NSW Government assesses all applications on their merits, under planning legislation and clear official policies to consider any potential benefits or impacts to the environment, the economy and the community.

There were no formal objections from local community members, however the Department did consult with a number of surrounding landowners, whom raised concerns about visual impacts and land use compatibility.

Mr Preshaw said this project will increase electricity capacity, cut greenhouse emissions and create jobs for local communities.

He said the project approval followed the release of a new Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline developed by the Department and designed to lead applicants and the community through the assessment process for state significant solar farm proposals.

“The NSW Large Scale Solar Guideline aims to provide clear and consistent guidance to the community, applicants, industry and regulators on the environmental and social impacts of state significant solar energy projects, encouraging early and continued consultation, and suitable site selection,” he said.

“The new guideline reflects the NSW Government’s strong commitment to NSW’S booming solar energy market.

“To date, the NSW Government and independent regional planning panels have approved a total of 50 large scale solar projects across the state,” Mr Preshaw said.

Source: NSW Government

 

Clean Energy Finance Corporation Investment Mandate

14 December

The Government has today issued a new Investment Mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) designed to strengthen its ability to support the Government's energy policy priorities.

The Government has directed the CEFC to support the development of a market for firming intermittent sources of renewable energy and to prioritise investments that support more reliable, 24/7 power.

An additional provision requires the CEFC to prioritise its investments with a view to support increased reliability and security of electricity supplies.

The CEFC will have to take into consideration the potential effect on reliability and security of supply when evaluating renewable energy generation investment proposals.

The CEFC has also been directed to continue to focus on emerging and innovative clean energy technologies with a view to further reduce the risk of the CEFC crowding out private finance in more established renewable energy markets.

These changes ensure that the CEFC will continue to support the Government's plan for more affordable, reliable energy for Australian families and businesses.

They follow on from the recent statutory review of the CEFC completed by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Source: Federal Government

 

CEFC to continue to support reliable renewable energy under new Investment Mandate

14 December

The CEFC has received notice of a new Investment Mandate.

The CEFC was consulted and was constructively engaged in the development of the Investment Mandate.

The approach adopted in the Investment Mandate is an updated framework for the CEFC to support Australian Government priorities and has been accepted by the CEFC Board.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the CEFC believes the changes proposed by the update align with work already being undertaken by the CEFC.

“The new direction set out in the Investment Mandate asks that the CEFC considers the potential effects on reliability and security of supply when evaluating potential renewable generation investments. It also encourages us to prioritise investments that will support reliability and security of electricity supply,” Mr Learmonth said.

“We have already invested in projects that incorporate smart controls, batteries, weather predicting technology and Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS) which support reliability or security of electricity supply.

“While the market is still emerging for many of these technologies, our investment pipeline includes technologies such as large-scale pumped hydro, household and grid scale batteries, synchronous condensers and other technologies which can support reliability or security of electricity supply.

“Importantly the new Mandate does not prevent the CEFC from continuing to invest in intermittent renewable energy such as wind and solar, after the CEFC has considered effects on the reliability and security of the grid.

“We are looking forward to continuing to invest heavily in solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy and other technologies in the renewable energy sector."

*The CEFC anticipates the new Mandate will shortly be tabled in parliament and published on comlaw.gov.au in due course.

Source: CEFC